Murray Wins First Masters Shield at Cincinnati

by John on August 4, 2008

Andy Murray beat the guys who beat the guys who were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 to win his sixth career title yesterday. Murray edged Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-6 in the final of the Cincinnati Masters on a sweltering Sunday afternoon after squandering four championship points. Djokovic had knocked off No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals on Saturday night, ending the Spaniard’s 32-match winning streak and run of five straight titles. Murray earlier had defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-4 in the afternoon semifinal. Karlovic bounced No. 1-ranked Roger Federer out of the tournament on Thursday, winning a third-round shocker 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Despite not winning the tournament, Nadal piled up enough ranking points by reaching the semis to wrest No. 1 from Federer in two weeks. The Swiss Maestro has held the top spot since Feb. 2, 2004, with Nadal ranked No. 2 since July 25, 2005. While the quest for No. 1 overshadowed the week, Murray’s breakthrough victory certainly is noteworthy. Britain’s top player, often pegged “Mopey Murray” in the past, is showing new-found resolve and concentration this summer. Ranked No. 9 in the world, Murray has definitely proved he can play with the big boys now. Earlier this year he defeated Federer in the first round at Doha. At Wimbledon he reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Last week he defeated No. 3-ranked Djokovic for the first time in the quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup before losing to Nadal in the semis. “It’s huge to win your first sort of major tournament, and to do it in a match like today makes it more special,” said Murray. “I put in a lot of work off the court to be able to win these sorts of tournaments, and it makes it all worthwhile.” The 21-year-old Brit will move up to No. 6 when the rankings come out today. “I’ve started to play more consistently in the bigger tournaments,” Murray said. “Obviously winning your first one makes a big difference in your confidence.” Murray’s recent success and growing maturity make him a real dark-horse threat at the U.S. Open later this summer.

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